Cyclists on a long-distance road race typically move in a constant braid: the rider in front will drop behind the rest of the pack, allowing another to move to the front and take a turn at the difficult task of breaking the wind. This specific formation is called a paceline and typically looks like a single- or double-file line along an open road.
The give and take of a paceline is not unlike a well-balanced team in the workplace. For the people team at fintech company BlackLine, taking turns celebrating wins, collaborating and supporting one another are all key parts of their winning strategy.
Built In sat down with Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition Amie Updike to learn her strategies for building a high-performance team and cultivating a well-balanced culture at the global fintech company.
I oversee a global team responsible for identifying critical talent across BlackLine’s Go-To-Market and General and Administrative organizations. Spanning five primary regions, I drive hiring initiatives and market expansion, elevate BlackLine talent and DEI strategies, and further the brand across the globe.
My team and I are fearlessly committed to identifying new BlackLiners who will greatly impact our customers and thrive in a culture that empowers employees to create and make their mark. I work collaboratively with business partners and connect my team with various stakeholders to accelerate execution and overall achievement of people team objectives. In addition to team oversight, I work closely with operational partners and leaders to advise on market conditions as well as near-term and long-range talent plans.
What role do your team members play in building, strengthening or celebrating your company mission and culture?
As part of the People team at BlackLine, our team has the opportunity to host and participate in a variety of company events and employee resource groups, which celebrate our company values of think, create, serve and deliver.
The team has a crucial role as brand ambassadors. Talent acquisition is the first line of communication with prospective candidates and how BlackLine culture is introduced, as well as how the company’s history and mission is initially shared. Some industry talent acquisition teams follow a script, yet at BlackLine, we are so confident in our culture that the team is encouraged to approach candidate conversations by sharing their own stories and authentic experiences.
“Some industry talent acquisition teams follow a script, yet at BlackLine, we are so confident in our culture that the team is encouraged to approach candidate conversations by sharing their own stories and authentic experiences.”
With the tenure across the team, there is much to share spanning many years and regions. We are proud to provide our customer testimonials and stories from the important work together at Beyond the Black events, which helps illustrate to candidates how we serve our customers and serve each other.
What’s your vision for leading your team?
I build strategy, processes and solutions. My vision for the team is a high-performance, cohesive group effectively impacting key objectives by identifying the necessary talent for BlackLine to thrive as the market leader. My leadership style is rooted in transparency, empowerment and mentorship. I’m most passionate about growing team members, witnessing advancement and overall career trajectory.
I foster an environment of collaboration and invaluable synergy within the talent acquisition team. We are focused on each other’s success and reaching talent aquisition’s big-picture KPIs. I drive autonomy, visibility and connection opportunities with the team and extended BlackLiners to increase hiring momentum across the globe.
At BlackLine, team success is driven primarily by tenure and versatility. With the continued scale at BlackLine, there’s endless opportunities for interesting projects and stretch opportunities. I actively seek and identify developmental activities to drive team growth and retention. Cross-training, relationship building and enablement is a big priority for our team to foster the success framework crucial for high performance.
UPDIKE’S 3 PILLARS FOR BUILDING TEAM CULTURE
“Exceeding goals and delivery is not possible without the hard work and dedication of each team member, so creating a collaborative culture is vital to the success of the overall team,” Updike explained, noting that she builds team culture on the basis of three primary pillars:
- Celebrating wins allows us to connect as a team and ensure that everyone's achievements are visible.
- Collaboration allows us to problem-solve together and establish a sense of connectivity.
- Trust: When every team member feels supported and trusted, there is camaraderie and a strong workplace culture becomes apparent.
Why is team culture important for the work that you do?
When the celebration of wins, collaboration and trust are all seen as important aspects of a team culture, the team becomes highly engaged and focused. These team qualities are particularly critical at BlackLine; especially so we can be agile and focused without disrupting execution as we navigate continuous growth and change.
“When the celebration of wins, collaboration and trust are all seen as important aspects of a team culture, the team becomes highly engaged and focused.”
How do you help your team grow their careers? What tools and support do you offer to allow them to stretch their skills?
Continuous performance, individual growth plans and career-pathing conversations are essential for development and retention at BlackLine. Ongoing development discussions are a top priority for my team and how we continue to balance daily delivery while prioritizing stretch opportunities and interesting ad-hoc projects.
In parallel with talent acquisition’s formal promotional path, I seek business and regional opportunities to build our talent acquisition subject matter experts. I also support the development of other team mentors and position team members to grow market-vertical expertise across the globe. The team is encouraged to carve out time to leverage the BlackLine education reimbursement, BlackLine U as well as attend external conferences to remain current on recruitment trends and approaches.
What is the employee value proposition for those thinking about joining your company?
BlackLine is the market leader in finance transformation with the mission to inspire, power and guide digital finance transformation. BlackLiners make their mark and build talents through a variety of resources such as ongoing education, training and career pathing.
As BlackLine continues to experience growth and emerging new spaces, BlackLiners gain experience with key customers, new markets and delivering innovative solutions.
We’re a people-focused culture where we are proud to support an environment of inclusion that empowers BlackLiners to work, create and succeed in a workplace where you can be yourself and make a positive impact.